Yes, we humans are a competitive bunch and while we retain a sense of positive community and comradery, it’s in our nature to enjoy knowing where we stand in relation to others. These instincts are being nurtured through a gaming culture that is creeping into every aspect of our daily lives. Gamification is nothing new and is the integration of game mechanics into a product or process to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty.
While it’s found its way into education, healthcare and even banking systems: it’s the fitness world that seems to have capitalized most on our propensity for one-upmanship.
In the cycling world, it’s nowhere more evident than in Strava’s ‘Segments’ feature. For those not familiar, Strava is an online platform that uses mobile devices (phone, smart watch, GPS device, etc) to track your favorite recreational route or training ride, with lots of performance data to sift though. Strava Segments are user created and edited portions of road or trail where cyclists compete for time and are ranked on their performance. Segments can be associated with climbs, descents, time trials and loops, and there are plenty to be found across Ontario. Strava’s Live Segments alert riders when approaching a segment, meaning it’s time to dig deep, ride hard and compete for the best time. This is the game element.
If a rider finishes a segment with the fastest time, they are crowned King of the Mountain (KOM) or Queen of the Mountain (QOM) for female riders. Sounds like fun? Go out and find a segment on your favourite route and see how you stack up.
But remember, it’s just a game.
8 Challenging Strava Segment Hill Climbs by Bike in Ontario (As generated by Strava):
Visit strava.com for more information.
Did we miss a great Strava Segment and hill climb in Ontario? Shoot us an email and we’ll make sure to share it with our community.
This article was originally featured in the 2018 Cycling in Ontario Guide.